As it increases the amount it spends, the London-based Wellcome Trust has announced a new funding framework aimed at enhancing its support for innovative research in the United Kingdom and globally.
The new framework introduces a clearer distinction between the trust's strategic funding and its responsive funding. To that end, responsive funding across the trust's Science, Innovations, Medical Humanities, Society and Ethics, and Engaging Science programs will be divided into five areas of emphasis — people, seeds, teams, places, and resources. As part of that effort, the trust, which boasts assets totaling £16.6 billion (approximately $25.9 billion), will create a Collaborative Awards program to fund research by multidisciplinary teams of researchers; a Seed Awards program to support the development of original and innovative ideas; and funding streams to encourage the development of translational research projects and sustained excellence in public engagement.
The trust also announced that its existing New Investigator and Senior Investigator awards programs will be merged into a single Investigator Award program, and that young researchers will have increased opportunities for support through the Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship and Sir Henry Dale Fellowship programs. The trust also will continue to provide long-term support for centers of excellence in the UK and low- and middle-income countries.
"Sometimes, the trust's best route to advancing health will be to identify critical questions and then to invite applications from those who are best equipped to answer them. That is why we are creating a clearer road map for inviting applications for strategic awards that advance our biggest priorities," said Wellcome Trust director Jeremy Farrar. "We understand, though, that our community will more often ask better questions that we can, which is why responsive funding will continue to make up the majority of our portfolio, with refined schemes that are better tuned to those who ask for our support....Across our funding framework we want to make sure the right scheme is available whatever your idea or your career stage."